Apple embraces casual gaming; iPhone, Apple TV to join iPod as gaming devices

Apple Store“As iconic as Apple may be in consumer electronics—from personal computing to digital music and, now, mobile phones—it hasn’t exactly set the gaming world on fire. The Mac lags behind competing brands in gaming software,” Douglas MacMillan reports for BusinessWeek.

MacMillan reports, “But in recent months, Apple has shown a new openness to gaming by introducing a spate of titles for its iPod digital music players. The company tapped several game publishers, including Electronic Arts and Namco, to deliver a selection of casual games. Titles include classics such as Tetris and Pac-Man, updates of old staples like the Arkanoid-inspired Vortex, and diversions with current pop-culture cachet like Sudoku and Texas Hold’em.”

MacMillan reports, “Most of the titles have lush graphics and multiple game-play options and work intuitively with the iPod’s scroll wheel. And just like song files, the games can be downloaded from Apple’s iTunes store for $4.99 each.”

“The target, in other words, is aficionados of casual games, often played in short duration on mobile phones and other handheld devices… Last year, the U.S. mobile gaming market was worth $722 million, a 44% increase from 2005, according to researcher IDC. The market is expected to grow to $952 million this year and to $1.3 billion in 2010,” MacMillan reports.

“Apple’s casual gaming foray is unlikely to end with the last version of the iPod. Apple is discussing games for the iPhone, due to be released in June, with the casual gaming arm of EA, BusinessWeek.com has learned. Apple could also release games for Apple TV, a wireless device that will transmit video downloaded from iTunes onto a TV,” MacMillan reports.

“Apple is mum on gaming plans for the iPhone or Apple TV, but Mitch Lasky, senior vice-president of EA Mobile, says his company is discussing plans for games on the phone,” MacMillan reports. “Apple also thought to tap two lesser-known developers of Web-based casual games, PopCap Games and FreshGames. The iPod creator handpicked the titles with the most popularity among Web surfers.”

Apple TV “is a shoo-in for games, says Greg Canessa, vice-president for video-game platforms at PopCap. ‘Apple TV is a natural,’ he says. ‘It’s about an extension device for the content you have on your Mac or your PC. It’s a living extension of iTunes—your music and movies—but games are contained in iTunes as well. Once you start looking at a low-cost box that extends those experiences to the television set, that’s an interesting consumer scenario.'”

Full article here.

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Is Apple out to kill cable television? – January 25, 2007
RUMOR: Apple TV sales blowing away Apple’s internal expectations – January 25, 2007
Steve Jobs: Apple TV is the ‘DVD player for the 21st century’ – January 22, 2007
Apple TV beats out iPod, hits top spot on Apple Store sales chart – January 19, 2007
Report: first batch of 100,000 Apple TVs to ship this month – January 11, 2007
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Apple premieres Apple TV: movies, TV shows, music & photos on your big screen TV – January 09, 2007
RUMOR: Apple may enter video game market – December 05, 2006
Could Apple become king of game consoles? – September 26, 2006

22 Comments

  1. Pac Man for the iPod? Why can’t I get Pac Man for the Mac? I’ve got that dinky little Asteroids/Pac Man Widget but I want it full screen. I need more games that won’t stress me out and hurt my wrists. And I don’t want to have to buy an iPod or an Apple TV in order to play (good) casual games when I’ve got a computer. I’ve tried tons of those stupid games on Apple’s Downloads page but only Connect Four Cities was any good. And maybe that mini golf game.

  2. Apple TV is going to be huge, The possibilities are endless and it will open up tremendous markjet share oppotunities for Apple. I just recieved my new Airport Extrmem yesterday and I was up and running in no time. The utility’s GUI shows a picture all of your devices on the left. You can connect a hub to the USB port and run additional hard drives or oyther devices, they will show up on the left side – you can imagine the possibilites.

    All I need is my Apple TV and bingo we have a winner – games, movies, music, iPhoto slide shows whatever else your mind can conjure up. The WOW starts here baby!

  3. Again, I hope that besides casual games for the Apple TV, it would be a good move to allow Apple Desktop and related technologies to allow games to be played via Apple TV from computers on the network that have games available on them similar to the way one can use the PSP to play games remotely from a PS3.

  4. effwerd,

    I’ve been playin ‘Pac the Man 2’ for years on the Mac. (The name was probably changed for copyright reasons.)

    It’s got 25 levels and I love playing it while listening to podcasts or music.

  5. > Assuming you have an AppleTV hooked up to a High-Def TV, what would the controller be for the games?

    It’s got a USB port. Apple or a third party can create a gaming input device. Many (if not most) Apple TV customers would not play games, so it would be ideal to sell it as a separate product. Or, if gaming on an Apple TV becomes popular, Apple can include the gaming input device in version 2.0.

  6. I just connected one of my portable 80 Gig Firewire/USB to my Airport Extreme and bingo the disk popped up on my Desktop. I selected one of my Vieo TSD folders and played absolutely perfectly via wireless to my iMAC20″ G5 and also to my G4 TiBook. Imagine how many movies, games (porn) or whatever that you can have at you fingertips ready to stream to your HDTV.

    WOW baby!

  7. @X,

    I don’t want a knockoff. I’ve tried Pac the Mac and it doesn’t have any of the “feel” that the original has. And I don’t like the faux 3D attempt for the graphics. I want Pac Man. Dammit.

    And seriously, you can offer your google wisdom without the bullshit attitude, you fucking anonymous coward. (I’ve done extensive searches for the authentic Pac Man on Mac, thank you very much.)

    (Not directed at Toby Belch)

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